Island News

Port St. Maarten expects an increase in cruise numbers


Port St. Maarten continues to work to increase destination cruise numbers after a dip in 2016. “Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will increase its number of calls to the destination in 2017 when compared to 2016. It is expected to make 39 port calls bringing 101,007 passengers to the destination. NCL made 29 calls for 2016, bringing in 82,316 passengers,” the harbour announced in a press release last week. NCL has three new ships on order to be delivered 2017-2019. The first ship is Norwegian Joy , which will be able to carry 4,200 passengers and is scheduled to be delivered in Summer 2017. This vessel has been built specifically for the Chinese market. Norwegian Bliss , 4,200 passengers, will be delivered in Spring 2018; and Breakaway Plus class ship, 4,200 passengers, is to be delivered in the Autumn of 2019. Norwegian Cruise Lines Holding Ltd. is a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

Offshore Passage Opportunities Sponsors Lottery Division


St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Organizers are happy to announce a new initiative to help grow a long neglected segment of the Caribbean regatta competitors; the ex-racing, now live-aboard, cruiser. With sponsorship from Hank Schmitt, founder of “Offshore Passage Opportunities”, the Lottery Division has plans to grow from one to three starting guns. The Lottery Class will get their own Welcome Party on Thursday March 2nd, 2017, hosted by the restaurants at the Simpson Bay Market across the bridge from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.

According to the new Sponsor of the Lottery Division, Hank Schmitt, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has a lot of potential to grow by doubling and tripling the amount of boats entered in the Lottery Class. He states: “All the race boats are already on the starting line for this biggest of all Warm Water Regattas. Many cruising sailors need that little bit of encouragement to dust off old skills and sail around the course.  Knowing they don’t have to strip the boat, flake sails nor bulk up with crew, is a huge plus.”

Regatta organizers welcome full time cruisers to sign up for the Lottery Division, have some good fun and competition on the water and enjoy the parties each night. This specific class doesn’t require a rating certificate. Ratings are determined every day by the Race Committee and may change each day based on the previous day’s finish. The Lottery Division builds on the regatta’s theme of “Serious Fun” and this diverse fleet of boats welcomes everyone that loves to be part of the Regatta, but doesn’t take the racing too seriously.

Exclusively for the Lottery Class competitors, a Welcome Party will be hosted by the restaurants on Simpson Bay Market on Thursday the 2nd of March, 2017. The venue is easily accessible by foot from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, as well as by dinghy and water taxi. Starting at 5pm, this get-to-gather will end perfectly on time to continue at the Gill Commodore’s Cup Welcome Party at Port de Plaisance.

Michelle van der Werff, Regatta Director, is pleased to see companies like Schmitt’s stepping up the plate and supporting the event. “It’s great to see this new concept of sponsoring individual divisions. We rely heavily on our Sponsors and with new sustainable partnerships like these, we can actually attract more boats, increase the quality of racing, and build on close relationships with our competitors.”

Caribbean Rum And Beer Festival Returns


The Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival is returning to St. Maarten at the Festival Village on November 4. The one-of-a-kind event is an exposition of rum and beer beverages combined with the 2016 Taste Contest, workshops, cooking demonstrations, cocktail competitions, rum and beer seminars, music, entertainment and pure fun. 

“This will be our second year here in St. Maarten,” explained Festival Director Cheryl Collymore. “Last year our exhibitors and patrons were so enthusiastic about how everything had come together that we just knew we had to come back to this amazing island. We are excited to be back and will be adding new activities such as an evening of rum and gastronomy at a local restaurant, the ‘Rum and Cigar’ zone and the ‘Chocolate, rum and beer pairing’ segment.” 

With its onsite seminars presented by world-renowned rum and beer professionals, the event allows patrons to better appreciate the complexities and the uniqueness of the more than 100 rum and beer products on offer at the event. Visit Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival for complete details.

"Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletter"

Get ready for the 37th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta!

Putting on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is like staging a play. The leading roles are cast, the award-winning scenery and backdrops already in place and excitement amongst our star studded audience (who actively participate) is growing. Let’s hope the 2017 edition is another blockbuster hit for the largest warm water regatta in the World.

St. Maarten, Saba, Statia to Boost Coral Restoration

coralrestorationNature conservation organizations in St. Maarten, Saba, Statia and Turks and Caicos will soon start planting structures made from bamboo and rope in their marine parks with the objective to regenerate coral species severely depleted over the last few decades.   The focus will be on Elkhorn and staghorn corals, species which are fast growing and relatively insensitive to sediment, a signifi cant factor affecting coral on all of the islands, said Nature Foundation in a press release.

With this project the participants hope to create new reefs. Nature Foundation, Saba Conservation Foundation, St. Eustatius National Park Stenapa and Turks and Caicos Reef Fund are now in the process of selecting the exact locations.  The project is managed by the Marine Park Management Organizations, Wageningen University/ IMARES in cooperation with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and funded by the European Union (EU).  

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The plan is to source small coral fragments from so-called mother colonies of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral on the islands. The fragments will then be hung on locally developed ladder-like, flexible structures that are placed under water with at least five structures being deployed per island. The trees can be removed to prevent them from being damaged by storms or strong current. The coral fragments can grow 10 to 12 cm a year: after three years in the nursery they can be transplanted to form parts of new coral reefs.

"Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletter"

Gill confirms commitment to the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta confirmed today that Gill North America has renewed its sponsorship to the event. The Gill Commodore’s Cup takes place on Thursday March 2nd, 2017 and serves as a warm up to the premier event, the 2017 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Additionally, Gill has committed to another year as the technical gear provider for the entire event allowing regatta organizers to plan ahead for both 2017 and 2018, giving them a jump start on the 38th edition.

The Gill Commodore’s Cup is open to all boats entered in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta with the exception of those racing in the Lottery Class. Scored separately, this event will have a prize giving ceremony after racing at the Princess Port De Plaisance venue location. “We are very proud to be sponsoring the Gill Commodore’s Cup once again. Event managers are striving for over one hundred boats this year. The Gill Commodore’s Cup is a fantastic one day warm-up for all classes planning on racing in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta the following day. Those fortunate enough to win a trophy will receive some free Gill kit,” mentioned David Pritchard from Gill North America.

In addition to being a title sponsor for the pre event, Gill is the technical gear provider for the regatta, delivering high quality technical sailing gear available to both the sailors and regatta fans. This technical line will be specially designed for the regatta and will not be available anywhere else. “Gill North America is now in high gear producing a unique collection of technical clothing for the 37th edition and the Gill Commodore’s Cup. This year we are supplying the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and Heineken specially designed UV shirts and trucker caps to better promote the outstanding Heineken brand and amazing regatta event,” continued David.

The unique and distinct Gill / HR 37 collection will be available for sale at the airport and in Phillipsburg leading up to the event prior to the holidays. Budget Marine will also have stock at its Cole Bay location and on site during the event. In addition to the HR 37 technical collection, Gill will be showcasing several new styles including its new race series. “A perfect collection for the racing while at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta!” concluded Pritchard.

“Originally seen as a kind of practice regatta, the Gill Commodore’s Cup has really become a stand-alone event and an important day in its own right with tight racing in competitive classes on short windward-leeward courses. Now more than ever, the Gill Commodore’s Cup is a perfect complement to the St Maarten Heineken Regatta,” declared race director Paul Miller.


St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the largest warm water Regatta in the world. This world-renowned sailing event offers a great combination of four days of challenging races and fantastic​ parties, living up to the event's motto of "Serious Fun"! The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will celebrate its 37th edition from March 2-5, 2017.

For full information on the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, including results, photos, videos, party- and band information, and much, much more, visit www.heinekenregatta.com.

Rio Productions Lights Up Streets With Parade

PHILIPSBURG--Carnival lovers jammed and jumped in the fifth annual Rio “Lightin’ Up de Road” parade on Saturday evening.  The streets were lighted with pink and green shirts behind Fantastic 4 (former Burning Flames) band and Small Axe Band. Fantastic 4 are pioneers of soca music and famous in the entire Caribbean and North America for their top-quality music and outstanding performances. The theme for the 2016 Lightin Up De Road parade was “The Clash of the Titans,” chosen was because two famous Caribbean bands performed on the road for one night.  Several costumes were also part of the parade while hundreds of spectators enjoyed the private jump-up. New this year was the Rio Village where the participants and spectators could meet to enjoy great music and enjoy local dishes.